The oncologist

Immunohistochemical validation of overexpressed genes identified by global expression microarrays in adrenocortical carcinoma reveals potential predictive and prognostic biomarkers.

PMID 25657202


Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare malignancy with a poor prognosis. The aim of this study was to identify novel protein signatures that would predict clinical outcomes in a large cohort of patients with ACC based on data from previous gene expression microarray studies. A tissue microarray was generated from the paraffin tissue blocks of 61 patients with clinical outcomes data. Selected protein biomarkers based on previous gene expression microarray profiling studies were selected, and immunohistochemistry staining was performed. Staining patterns were correlated with clinical outcomes, and a multivariate analysis was undertaken to identify potential biomarkers of prognosis. Median overall survival was 45 months, with a 5-year overall survival rate of 44%. Median disease-free survival was 58 months, with a 5-year disease-free survival rate of 44%. The proliferation marker Ki-67 and DNA topoisomerase TOP2A were associated with significantly poorer overall and disease-free survival. The results also showed strong correlation between the transcriptional repressor EZH2 and TOP2A expression, suggesting a novel role for EZH2 as an additional marker of prognosis. In contrast, increased expression of the BARD1 protein, with its ubiquitin ligase function, was associated with significantly improved overall and disease-free survival, which has yet to be documented for ACC. We present novel biomarkers that assist in determining prognosis for patients with ACC. Ki-67, TOP2A, and EZH2 were all significantly associated with poorer outcomes, whereas BARD1 was associated with improved overall survival. It is hoped that these biomarkers may help tailor additional therapy and be potential targets for directed therapy.